Google just released a new video called the Chrome Story (my friend Dinu of chromestory.com must be very happy), presenting to us the history of Chrome web browser. The same video was shown in the Google I/O keynote.
Chrome started in September 2008, in just less than 4 year, it has grown to become the choice of many internet users. It is the most used web browser in many countries, and the user figure is growing rapidly everyday.
In the Google I/O 2012 just commenced, Google announced quite some new projects and products that have long been expected. As someone who strongly believe in cloud-living, I am particularly interested in software and hardware developments that bring people closer to the cloud. Here are a few new things I observed:
Google Nexus 7 Tablet
There have been rumors about Google’s own branded tablet, and now it comes true. This 7-inch device is seen by many as a strong Kindle Fire competitor, not only because of the same price tag ($199), but also its capability to handle content streaming from Google Play. Buyers can get a $25 Google Play credit (as a temporary incentive though) to purchase content from Google Play store, including songs, movies, TV shows, magazines and books.
I always believe that in the future mobile devices should have small local storage but great streaming power. Instead of storing everything offline, we could download contents and run apps by accessing the cloud. The Chrome browser + web apps combination has been a (quite) successful demonstration. Obviously Google is aware of the huge demand for streaming content, probably due to the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire, so besides making a great budget tablet, Google also makes Nexus 7 a nice device for retrieving content from the internet.
Google just announced the arrival of Chrome 20, the latest stable release of the popular web browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome Frame. According to the announcement by Google, this release mainly gives us security fixes. A full list of changes could be found on the Chromium Security page (for security fixes) and SVN version log (for all changes).
Last year before the release of the 1st generation Chromebook I wrote a guest post for Chrome Story, Why You Should Not Buy A Chromebook – 9 Reasons. In that post I outlined the disadvantages of Chromebook from a user’s point of view. Today, I found a review of the latest Samsung Chromebook by liliputing, with a section named “What Chrome OS can’t do”. Here are the major points I got from this post:
No internet, 2000 percent less useful
Limited local storage
Cannot run apps that have no web version (Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Stata, Final Cut Pro, Diablo III, Portal 2…)
Not all hardware supported (e.g. printers)
Only DisplayPort output, no VGA, HDMI, or DVI port
I cannot agree with everything said above. Points 2 and 5 should be hardware limitations only. And the “2000 percent less useful” claim seems to be exaggerated. Nowadays if you have a smartphone without internet connection, you could probably enjoy around 40% to 50% of the power of the phone. The figure may be even lower for Chrome OS, but with more and more offline support built into web apps (mainly Google Apps), I think Chrome OS is a nice computer with basic function when offline.
Point 3 is also irrelevant because Chrome OS is not designed for playing Diablo III, right? Making such a statement is like complaining the lack of World of Warcraft on iPhone. Remember Chrome OS is made for casual daily use or lightweight office use (in my opinion), we certainly shouldn’t expect to do everything on a Chrome OS device.
I do agree with liliputing’s final verdict about Chrome OS, “you can do many of those things better with a Chromebook if the web browser is your most important app“. This simplicity of Chrome OS, the peace of mind thanks to auto-update and virus proof design and the responsiveness make Chrome OS an outstanding cloud OS. No matter Chromebook or Chromebox, I believe Chrome OS device could make surfing the internet much more easier and funnier. It is not an almighty machine but a handy and helpful tool for all internet animals.